What is Snapchat dysmorphia? People seeking plastic surgery to look like Snapchat filters

“This is an alarming trend”

Snapchat's new update features group video chats

Snapchat offers several features that can animate your face with special effects. However, doctors believe people are seeking plastic surgery to permanently look like the filtered versions of themselves.

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Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine are calling the condition Snapchat dysmorphia, a form of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in which people have "an excessive preoccupation with a perceived flaw in appearance," the authors said in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ has patients seeking out cosmetic surgery to look like filtered versions of themselves instead, with fuller lips, bigger eyes, or a thinner nose,” the analysts explained. “This is an alarming trend because those filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients.”

The researchers said the filters available on social media apps, such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facetune, often present unattainable standards of beauty and can promote a pressure to look a certain way.

They added that these platforms could also be making people lose touch with reality, which can be particularly dangerous for adolescents.

In cases of Snapchat dysmorphia or BDD, the scientists said treatment should include psychological interventions and medications with an empathetic and nonjudgmental approach from healthcare experts.

They concluded, "It is important for clinicians to understand the implications of social media on body image and self-esteem to better treat and counsel their patients."

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